Illustrator and graphic designer Gregory Hammond LaPierre is adept at creating fantasy worlds. In The Space In-Between, LaPierre constructs an unbelievably intricate, black-and-white universe, depicted across 25 separate drawings that piece together to create one huge, complex world. Despite the pen and ink nature of LaPierre’s drawings, they’re so richly realized that they feel real, like a cartoon you can get lost in.
The presence of a lone, tiny, striped-shirted figure gives the series an eerie M.C. Escher meets Where’s Waldo? vibe. Navigating the streets of a futuristic city, this character has to contend with meteors, a Godzilla-like monster, and a rogue spaceship, not to mention the nightmarish landscape of the city itself. With slides for doorways, houses perched on treetops, and gigantic buildings with too many stories to count, LaPierre’s universe looks like an architect’s nightmare (and maybe a kid’s dream playground).
LaPierre’s artwork brings to mind the finely realized drawings of outsider artist William A. Hall, who spent 18 years living in his car, making incredible, retro-futuristic art with delicate pencil crayons. Pieced together, Hall’s drawings often created larger landscapes. LaPierre’s drawings in The Space In-Between achieve the same compounding effect, overlapping perfectly to form one incredibly detailed image.
Densely textured black and white drawings are the usual medium of the Ithaca, NY-based artist, but last year LaPierre departed from this style to illustrate a music video for the band Mutual Benefit. In contrast to the folksy feel of the music, LaPierre’s imagery here has a surreally digital feel, all colorful gradients and CGI scenery. What both projects do share is a vividly realized atmosphere.